Crowne Plaza Brugge Review
Brugge (or Bruges) was, in the 15th century, one of the most important cities in Europe. It was a port city until the harbor silted up; leaving the city in a state of decay for centuries until it reinvented itself as a tourist destination in the 20th century. There are no big chain hotels in the city with the exception of the Crowne Plaza. Built in 1992, it is built on the site of a 9th century fort turned church that was destroyed in 1799.
I visited for two nights over a weekend in July; just about the highest season for travel to the city. I used two Chase IHG free night certificates that were limited to 40k point stays.
The Crowne Plaza might be the hotel with the best location in all of Bruges even if it isn’t the best looking building.
It is located on Burg Square where you will also find City Hall, Renaissance Hall, and the Basilica of the Holy Blood (where tradition says a vial of Jesus’ blood is kept).
It is less than a five minute walk to Markt (Market Square) where you find the Belfort (Bell Tower). This is the view of the hotel from the Belfort.
Most people will be arriving from the train station. You can walk, it is about 20 minutes. Or you can take a taxi or one of the city buses to Markt (look for buses going to the “Centre” which is most of them). If you are driving, I believe there may be parking at the hotel but I would recommend parking at the train station rather than try to navigate the cobble stone “streets” of Bruges.
I arrived at 4:30pm on a Friday and there was only one staff working the desk. Being the summer of 2022, I can’t fault them as it is impossible to find employees. I had to wait for about four parties ahead of me.
Once I got to the front, I was told my room wasn’t yet ready. However, the staff was able to confirm that I had an upgraded suite that I could keep for both nights (separate reservations) if I was willing to wait about 30 minutes.
When I arrived back around 5pm my room was ready. Breakfast is not included and would be €28/person. I passed on the breakfast.
I was assigned room 423. The elevator shows that there are 8 floors to the hotel, but I believe that the odd number floors are actually more of a half floor up the way that the building was designed. So it would be more reasonable to say that the building is may 5 floors tall.
It was a bit of a walk from the elevators to my room, including up a small set of stairs. To say that the room is not wheelchair accessible is an understatement.
Upon opening the door, all that was in front of me was another set of stairs.
The stairs lead to the room which is actually the loft of an old house.
It is a unique hotel room to be sure. The bed and living area is on one side of the stair case and the bathroom is on the other. The exposed timbers give it great character (though during my visit it needed a good cleaning as there were many cobwebs in the ceiling).
The bed isn’t the most comfortable; it seems that most of the furniture in the room is fairly dated. There also are no outlets near the bed.
The bed faces a long desk and storage unit with the TV and mini fridge where the nearest outlet is located. There is a pod type coffee set up.
The living room area is between the bed and the staircase.
The room is air conditioned but the only windows are the two small ones near the bed and a larger one in the bathroom. You do feel like you are in an attic which some would find claustrophobic.
I figured out that when they built the hotel in 1992, they incorporated a couple of older buildings in the construction. Walking around outside, you can see the buildings (my room is in the top of the building on the left – the top window you see is the bathroom).
The bathroom is a strange set up which is understandable considering this is an attic. The toilet is in a small closet outside of the rest of the bathroom.
The sinks and tub/shower combo are in a separate area with a fogged glass door. There are two basic sinks. The tub has both a rain shower head and a hand held wand. A roller shade can cover the window to provide privacy.
Even with the shade closed and the bathroom door shut, light comes in to the room. The windows in the bedroom also have shutters but they do not keep all light out. So if you are a sleeper that needs complete darkness, this room would not work.
The bath products are all in reusable bottles with stickers reminding you not to take them home. No bar soap is provided. I found the products to be very basic; not sure why anyone would take them but they aren’t bolted down so I guess it must be a problem.
Pool & Gym
I was surprised to find out that the hotel has a pool and small gym on Floor 8. They are both quite small and basic and not a place I would want to spend time. You can see the pool through the windows in the gym.
There is a bar and restaurant off of the lobby but to be honest it didn’t look to attractive. There is a second bar that is in the first floor of the building where my room was located but it was closed during my visit.
One of the cool things about the Crowne Plaza Brugge is that it was built on the site of a 9th century church. If you have a chance, you can go down in to the basement and see the foundation walls of the original church.
They also have displays that show some of the items including original timbers, art from a tomb, and various other pieces found during excavation.
Even if you aren’t staying at the hotel, you can ask at the front desk to go down and see the items.
Crowne Plaza properties are typically pretty low on my list of hotel preferences. You could probably find a better independent hotel without any problem in Brugge that would be better. The service at the hotel was nothing impressive and the decor and furniture is dated. I was surprised by some of the unique details of the hotel that made it not just feel like a chain; however I think that was simply because I was lucky to get one of the historic rooms. The location is fantastic and if you have a Chase IHG night this could make for a good redemption.